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Pooh Jeter’s clinic to bring together generations of L.A. basketball talent

Current and former NBA players will mentor high school and college standouts

Ex-Sacramento Kings point guard Eugene “Pooh” Jeter was speaking to the players on former NBA star Paul Pierce’s AAU team in Los Angeles in June when one kid posed a question that sparked something much bigger.

“We’re the professional basketball players, but these kids aren’t getting information from us,” Jeter said. “College and high school kids, they look up to us and have questions about pick-and-rolls and running offenses; big men [have questions] about the post. When I went to Paul Pierce’s AAU practice, afterwards I was talking to them and I was like, ‘Wow, there are a lot of things they don’t know.’

“One kid said, ‘We are trying to be where y’all at, but we can’t find y’all.’ They just want information.”

Jeter had been thinking about putting a basketball clinic together to connect the top kids from Los Angeles with current and former professional basketball players in the NBA and overseas. That kid’s question prompted Jeter to join forces with NBA free-agent guard Bobby Brown and renowned basketball trainer Rico Hines to start the invitation-only Los Angeles Basketball Skills Clinic, which will take place Saturday and Sunday at an undisclosed location. Jeter said the clinic will include 60 top high school boys, about 10 of the top high school girls and some local college players. They will get basketball training and mentoring from pro players with ties to Los Angeles.

NBA All-Stars Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan and Paul George are expected to attend, and possibly James Harden, Jeter said. Other current NBA players include former Los Angeles Clippers players Chris Paul and Zach Randolph, the L.A.-area native Holiday brothers (Jrue, Justin and Aaron), Tyson Chandler, Brandon Jennings, Delon Wright, Allen Crabbe, Jordan Bell, Solomon Hill, Spencer Dinwiddie, Tony Snell, Dewayne Dedmon and Chimezie Metu. Among the long list of former NBA players expected to attend are former All-Stars Pierce, Baron Davis and Gilbert Arenas, three-time champion and former head coach Byron Scott, Andre Miller, Richard Jefferson, Ryan Hollins, Derrick Williams, Elden Campbell, Chris Mills, Milt Palacio and John “Hot Plate” Williams.

“The best thing is the current and retired pros said they are coming through,” Jeter said. “Russ said he is coming through, DeMar, Paul George, Andre Miller, B.D. [Davis]. There are so many more. We are going to have some guys coming through giving information. We are involving all of our friends.”

Jeter said the event is sponsored by his South Los Angeles-based shoe store Laced (Los Angeles Creates Endless Dreams) and Brown’s clothing brand What Yo 1’s Look Like. Hines, an assistant coach for G League Stockton, has set up the on-court program for the clinic. While basketball will be the focus this time, Jeter hopes that life skills, finances and other off-the-court education will be offered in future camps.

“This is the first set of preparation to become a pro,” Jeter said. “We have to give the information.”

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Jeter starred at Junípero Serra High in Gardena in the South Bay of Los Angeles. Jeter played in the China Basketball Association for Tianjin last season and has also played for the Kings, in the G League, for BC Kiev in Ukraine and in Israel, Spain and France. He also is a member of the Ukrainian national team. The former University of Portland star recalls going to basketball camps in high school hosted by Davis, a former UCLA star and L.A. native, where he was able to get training and mentoring. Jeter said current NBA players who attended those Davis-hosted camps included Lance Stephenson and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris.

Jeter said those basketball camps had a strong impact on him. He hopes to give back in similar fashion to the L.A. teen hoop stars this weekend and in the future. He is planning to make the clinic an annual event.

“We haven’t been in a group setting yet, and that is the saddest part,” Jeter said. “We are producing the best players ever on Earth. We had the first back-to-back [NBA] MVPs [Harden and Westbrook] from one city. Nobody has seen that. But we have to show that we’re together.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.